Plymouth State University and Keene State College held commencement ceremonies over the weekend, awarding more than 1,700 degrees to students.
Keene State College awarded a total of 810 undergraduate and graduate degrees to 770 students during a commencement ceremony Saturday on Fiske Quad.
Keene State recognized Dr. Robert Putnam for his contributions to the study, exploration and understanding of the social sciences, specifically in the areas of political science and community.
“We have become more of an ‘I’ society and less of a ‘we’ society,” Putnam told graduates. “I’m actually optimistic that your generation can turn these trends around, because young people exactly like you have done so before in our history.”
Leonard Chaloux was honored by Keene State for contributions in the field of precision manufacturing systems and processes, as well as leadership, technical expertise, business acumen, and dedication to workforce development.
Keene State awarded the 2019 Granite State Award to the Historical Society of Cheshire County. Student body president Sarah Dugas and Keene State College President Melinda Treadwell also addressed the graduating students.
Plymouth State University celebrated its 148th commencement on Saturday in the Bank of New Hampshire Field House of the Active Living, Learning, and Wellness (ALLWell) North Center. A total of 982 undergraduate degrees were awarded before a crowd of more than 4,500 guests.
Graduate and doctorate degrees were awarded in a separate ceremony on Thursday evening.
The theme for PSU’s commencement was “persistence,” and President Donald Birx, Ph.D., opened his remarks by noting that the Class of 2019 began its journey at PSU at the same time he did.
“We have grown a lot, experienced both good times and challenging ones, and yet we are here together today, in this place, sharing a moment that we will always remember,” said Birx, who began his tenure as PSU president in mid-2015.
He highlighted the students’ achievements over the past four years, which included initiatives such as “Swipe it Forward” (which raises funds for fellow students who are food-insecure); partnering with businesses, communities and nonprofits on real-life projects of impact; participating in presidential candidate forums; and developing and installing equipment to better understand avalanches.
“Throughout all of these endeavors you have learned about everything from discovery to innovation. You have all gained experience in working collaboratively toward common goals, and as you go forth this capability will help you no matter your career path,” said Birx. “Together we have learned about the power of perseverance, which is key to achieving whatever you set your minds to.”
PSU alumnus and philanthropist John D. Morgridge, Class of 1985, and his wife Carrie Morgridge, award-winning author and co-founder of the Morgridge Family Foundation, were recognized with the Granite State Award in recognition of their passionate commitment to supporting organizations throughout the country that have positive impacts on their communities.
Class of 2019 president Tyler Brown, a criminal justice major from Epsom, noted that the Class of 2019 includes the largest number of first-generation college students in Plymouth State University’s history.
“These (students) are the type of people who we should all look up to as they are the ones who took a step that some people would walk away from,” said Brown.